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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Glenn Murcutt

1992
Ken Done

synthetic polymer paint on canvas (frame: 156.0 cm x 117.7 cm, support: 151.5 x 115.0)

Glenn Murcutt AO (b. 1936), architect, received the world's highest architectural honour, the Pritzker Prize, in April 2002. As an architecture student at the University of New South Wales, he drew on principles he had learned while working for his father, a 'jack of many trades' who had a number of building businesses in Sydney after the Second World War. Murcutt is unusual among Pritzker winners in that he works alone, mostly on residential homes; he has never made a skyscraper or a tourist attraction and he uses mostly basic materials. His overriding design philosophy is that dwellings should 'touch the earth lightly'.

Murcutt designed Ken Done’s house in Middle Harbour (Mosman) in 1990. A couple of years later, Done painted his architect. Keen for the portrait to accord with the personal style of his khaki-clad sitter (he says wryly that the top of his friend's head reminds him of the curve of a typical Murcutt roof), the artist kept the work very simple. The details of the architect's face are reduced to lidless and browless eyes, nose and lips; the water is reflected in his signature half-spectacles. Floating in the blue sky over his head are the sun and moon, which sit beneath the architect's name like golden medals or seals.

Gift of the artist 2009. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
© Ken Done

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Ken Done (age 52 in 1992)

Glenn Murcutt AO (age 56 in 1992)

Subject professions

Architecture, design and fashion

Donated by

Ken Done (2 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Ken Done

'I am very Sydney'

Portrait story

Iconic Australian artist Ken Done discusses his life and career as a painter.

Glenn Murcutt

'Strength and delicacy'

Portrait story

Award-winning Australian architect, Glenn Murcutt describes the philosophy of his architectural practice and his minimalist portrait by Ken Done.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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